Amazon showed off the newest location of its cashier-less Amazon Go concept for the first time Wednesday, but this store is a little different from the others.
Located in the sixth floor of the Macy’s building in downtown Seattle, where Amazon recently opened a huge office, the store is tiny at only about 450 square feet. That is roughly the size of a studio apartment and much smaller than the other Amazon Go stores, which range between 1,200 and 2,300 square feet.
In an interview with Reuters, Amazon officials said the small format could work in open areas like office lobbies, hospitals and communal rooms in skyscrapers. These stores could be brought in pieces and assembled on site.
Right now, the store is only open to Amazon employees and guests, similar to how the company introduced the first Amazon Go store at the base of its Day One tower in Seattle.
The tiny store concept shows that Amazon has ambitions for the technology beyond the formats we’ve seen so far. Amazon has also reportedly been testing the technology in larger store formats and talked about bringing the concept to airports.
After spending years developing the technology behind the store, and another year testing it with Amazon employees, the tech giant is speeding up the pace of Amazon Go expansion. The company has now opened or announced a total of 10 stores in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco and confirmed that a New York location is on the way.
Amazon Go relies heavily on a smartphone app. Customers scan a unique QR code within the app before passing through a set of glass doors, similar to the gates Amazon employees go through when entering their office buildings every morning. A vast array of overhead cameras and weight sensors in the shelves automatically track what people pick up and take from the store.
When customers leave, they just walk out. Amazon Go’s systems automatically debit their accounts for the items they take, sending the receipt to the app. By logging shoppers in at the entrance, then tracking their actions in the store, the system eliminates the need for traditional checkout registers and checkout workers along with them.